History of "The River"
The River Course, originally designed by Ault, Clark and Associates, was built in 1998-1999. The Virginia Tech Foundation acquired the course in 2002. Bordered by 2.5 miles of the scenic New River, the well-designed course had significant potential. Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest and Associates developed an overall site plan for a new clubhouse and maintenance facility along with improvements to the range and practice facility. In 2003, the driving range/practice facility was rebuilt through the generosity of long-time Virginia Tech golf supporters, Buddy and Doris Nevaisor.
Simultaneously, Tech alumnus and philanthropist Bill and wife Alice Goodwin asked their friend, Pete Dye, to consider revamping "The River" into a world class course. After visiting, Dye outlined his ideas with a revised plan for the course. Construction began in 2003 with formal dedication and renaming on June 5, 2006, of The Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech. During the dedication, Virginia Tech President Steger announced a $2 million commitment from the Williams-Berry Charitable Trust in support of the construction of a new clubhouse. Harry (’55) and Patsy Williams were supporters of Virginia Tech athletics and academics and involved in the university community.
In 2006, Golf Digest recognized the course as a Best New Course and in 2007 as the Fourth Best Newly Remodeled golf course in America.
The Williams-Berry gift stimulated fundraising efforts for the clubhouse and accelerated the design and planning process. Ideas and concepts became specific plans, and ground was broken in May 2008 for the $5.5 million project.
In 2009, Golf Digest awarded the course a 4.5 star rating and included it in its Best Places to Play. Golf operations moved to the clubhouse in early May of 2010 and the Harry S. and Patsy B. Williams Clubhouse was officially dedicated on October 28, 2010.
About Pete Dye
Paul B. “Pete” Dye was one of the most influential course designers of the modern era. After building a few courses in the Midwest in the early 1960’s, he and his wife, Alice, traveled to Scotland in 1963 and spent a month studying and playing many of the world’s classic layouts. What he took away changed the shape of golf design in the latter part of the 20th century – bunkers of all shapes and sizes, railroad ties as architectural features, un-manicured rough and a general orientation to a more strategic approach to the game. Dye built some of the most transformative golf courses in the world, adapting his designs to incorporate the design features of great Scottish courses. His design style is evident on every hole at “The River” where each shot is more about strategy than a reliance on brute force.
His honors include the recipient of the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award, an induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, the Old Tom Morris Award and the ASGCA Donald Ross Award, among others.
His resume of designs includes Crooked Stick Golf Club, TPC Stadium Course at Sawgrass, Whistling Straits, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, Blackwolf Run, PGA West, Harbour Town Golf Links and of course, The Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech. With more than 100 courses to his credit, many of which have hosted numerous PGA TOUR and LPGA events, major championships, a Ryder Cup and a Solheim Cup.